Innovate S&T: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program
Hi. Welcome to the second, episode of deconstructing. SBIR, which, is becoming. A part of the new innovate, S&T, series. I. Am. Dusty, Lange and today's, topic for deconstructing. SBIR. Is shining, light on the proposal, submission process, I have. Here with me our, contracting, officer Tanisha, Walcott. She, has, been with DHS, for seven years she's. Been awarding, SBIR, contracts, for almost. Three. Years now. As. Well as other research and development programs so she, and her team are very very, busy but, they they, do a great job at awarding our SBIR, contracts, if. You've worked with them I'm sure you've enjoyed it. So, SPR, has been around a long time for. Those of you not familiar, with it it's a program, that used lives as the agility of small businesses, to help tackle our needs. Through. Your, innovative, small, business solutions so. Starting. On why. We're here, today, the. 18.1. Pre-solicitation. Hit. The streets, on the 22nd, of november yes thank you very much for helping us with that. So. What. Is the, purpose, of a, pre-solicitation. Well. We put the pre-civil station out there and, to. Address some issues that had, come to our attention from, industry, so, one issue that industry and as particularly, small businesses, had brought up to us is issue of time they, didn't have sufficient time to respond, to, the solicitation, they, didn't have sufficient, time to digest, what the solicitation, was asking, and to understand, how, to respond, so the pre-solicitation, phase, is out there to one give, the companies sufficient, time to review, the solicitation, to, get familiar with it and to, join the pre-solicitation they, have the opportunity, to discuss, with the topic managers and so, talking. With the topic managers who created the specific topics gives, them an opportunity to, get. A better understanding. Of the, work, that is required of them and so that they'll be able to make a better informed a more informed decision. When they're submitting, their responses, and. And, the legislation. Mandates. That we have to do that for 15 days but we've actually we're, working towards, providing more days so we made it we made it a few more days and we'll, work to making, that as long as little bit longer little bit longer each time we can. So. They. Can ask questions, of the topic manager, to get clarification, for, the requirements. Can. You give I mean is there is there. Limitations. Or restrictions on, what kind of questions they can ask yes, okay, so one, reacts that questions only come in via email so. That we're clear on what it's being asked and sort of clear response can be provided we. Ask that it's only limited to clarification. Of the topics and the need and, not, asking questions about how to do, the proposal, we want to propose just trying, to clarify what's already in the. Solicitation. Is what our main things that we're trying to get, folks to do so, if I for, instance said.
I. Have, this idea and this is how I want to approach it would, you would, you rate this favorably. That's, not something that they should be asking, but if they're not clear, on what the parameters, are then, they can ask that question for, clarification okay. All. Right and, so. Sometimes I think we, sort, of get some enlightenment. About an area we should have addressed in in the topic, and that's. Something that we may from. The pre-solicitation to, the solicitation, kind. Of update. The topic, description width or yes, yes. So if we identify, like, certain questions he coming and something is honestly. Not clear that and so it needs tweaking it needs clarification and we will make it clear wants, a full solicitation. Is release. Or, if it is something that lots, of people just don't understand, are some estate even we're, not infallible there's an there's the possibility that there might have been a mistake in a pre-solicitation there's. The opportunity for the companies. To look at an opportunity for government as well to understand, what the companies are asking us and make any, adjustments. That are merited so. It sounds. Like this is something that the companies should really, try to take advantage of. And. This opportunity to correspond, with the technical managers, right okay, great. Thank, you for that information. So if if I'm a company, and I'm, putting. Together a proposal. What, are what are some of the things that I want to make sure that, I don't, do or, I do so. That I don't put. My time into this and then not, be able to be considered for for, evaluation, okay so I will say read read. Read, I cannot, stress enough to read the solicitation, read, the pre solicitation, and make sure you understand, this is Association and make sure you understand, exactly what's, in there I can't stress that enough because so many times we, receive. A submission. And then it's not following the rules it's not following, what's laid out in the, solicitation. And that is very. Difficult on both ends so all. I can not, that could take away nothing else just dress that you read carefully. And, follow what, is written in the solicitation and it's I mean it's a considerable, document, it's 50 60, pages yes but it's got a lot of things in there like the dollar thresholds. Yes which. May. Be changing. It's. Got submission. Deadlines. Yes and deadlines there's a time as. Well as a date so you have to make sure you don't exceed that time and don't, wait until the last minute, if. There's if there's internet, issues or, something happens it makes us feel bad, but we can't can't accept to change the, rules. If. There's page. Limits, make sure you abide, by those if, and, you, know make. Sure that everything. Is considered, within there. The. Required elements are addressed, so you know make sure you if there, says. You need to call it a cover sheet or a cause proposal, or anything else they should make sure yeah, and, then and, and a good, reason, to read this now this. Understand, it and so at the last minute, because again is 50 60 pages if you have questions. Contact. Us, with those questions just, so. Make sure that you understand it we hate to. Not, be able to consider somebody. Somebody's proposal, that they spent some time on and and. Be, able to take. Advantage of these, innovative, ideas that are being proposed. So. One. Of the things that I wanted to talk about is, is, we, have some, information, in this, solicitation, about. For. Instance the, format. And information, on which be included, in the technical, proposal. And, those sorts of things I, want. To make sure that companies understand, be sure to address all, of the, aspects, that are that are asked, about within, the solicitation, but also within the topic description. I'm. Going to make sure that that. When. You're proposing, your, idea, and we. Say this is this is the need because. We're asking for innovative solutions sometimes. The, vision that you see for. What you're proposing isn't, necessarily. Going. To immediately, be understood. By the people, reading the proposal so. Make sure as you, articulate. What, you're going to do tie. It back, to what. The requirement, was why. This is need well how this fits what, we're what we're trying to do and and, again, read. The solicitation. I, have that here too um, and I think a lot of times especially. For the phase one companies. And. It's, hard for the commercialization. Strategy it's. Hard to really kind of envision, what that that, all looks like but I think this.
Is One of the areas where if they put some, time into that they can see some of the areas where they may not be meeting the the real need as as, the, product, would be developed. This. Is true I mean for a lot of companies SBIR, is the first time, that they. Interact. With the federal government and sometimes. You, know we do this every day in the federal government so we think that what we wrote is crystal clear and, so sometimes a company minute I really don't understand that this pre-solicitation, time, frames for your opportunity to ask all those questions if there's something you're not clear about access. There's something that, may. Be a little bit confusing please access it's better I'd rather get. Questions a day did, not get that question and then we received, something that we cannot accept so. You're, right supplanting. The commercialisation. All those different aspects might be a little bit hazy might not be clear ax, ax ax there's your opportunity to access these questions. All. Right. All. Right so phase, one proof. Of feasibility, yes, um. We. Do, contracts. Yes, okay. So we do not do grant there are no grants and. The. Contracts, that you can expect, if you're selected the contracts, are firm fixed price contracts, all of our phase one contracts, are firm fixed price okay. There's no grants there's no OTS, there's none of the other. Those. Other vehicles what we use our contracts, and for phase one they're firm fixed price contracts, okay. Okay. And so. The. Contracting. Team will contact, the. Companies, and and so at that point if. They had questions about. The. Process, of the firm fixed price and the requirements, that would have that that opportunity yes you have the opportunity, to talk to me and to any members of my contracting, team to ask those questions wanted, to get clarification. All. Right so. We've. Talked. About this, pre solicitation, period and, how, the small businesses, can use that to their advantage. Free. Solicitation. Ends, on 12. December. Yes all, right. And. What happens so the, pre-solicitation went, out on november 20 s was posted on november 22nd, it, closes, on December, 12, after. December, 2 on December, 12 it closes at noon in the afternoon, we, envisioned.
To, Post the full solicitation. And, that'll be posted, and that will. Be up there until about mid January. Okay. And that's why we will expect all the proposals to come in in mid-january at that before, and before the end, of the solicitation. Period, so. There is still a period, where. Small. Businesses, can ask questions, after, the pre-solicitation and, yes but. It's a little bit different. How. Does that work yes, so joined a pre-solicitation all, the questions that you ask are just, between you and the topic manager are you and myself I've got him some questions myself and, that's. Where it remains once, the pre-solicitation ends, and it is the full solicitation. Sergeant December 12th the questions, that come in and answers, to those questions will. Be posted on SPO, will be posted to Facebook ops so that they're become public knowledge okay. So so. If they ask a question during pre solicitation, they can ask something that may be a little bit more. Specific. Or tailored to their approach, and not give away where, their, idea. Exactly, but, then if they ask one afterward. It'll be collect it'll, be collected all the answers will be gathered and posted, as one document yes, and everybody, can read their question. And the. Answer, provided. Yes okay, that's. Important. To know okay. And. That's. That's, when so, as of 12. December. That's. When they can start submitting their. Proposal, yes okay, and the, and all the this, is when the solicitation, will be posted, with all the information, that we're telling you to read read read. So. And. Approximately. Three. Some days they'll have to prepare, the proposal, yes so okay, great. Once. The. Solicitation. Ends, then. What. Do we do, so. The patient, ends and evaluation. Begins the evaluation, period begins. As soon as cessation Co as soon as the solicitation, closes and. Once. That goes on you can expect, to receive a response ninety days after the close of the solicitation. Okay, so. We'll get. The proposals, in, we. Review, them to, make sure that they meet the requirements, if. Somebody. Doesn't meet the requirements for some reason we notify, them by then let them know and. But. The. Goal is that we're taking these proposals and we're doing an evaluation based. On the criteria in, the, solicitations. They need to make sure they understand what criteria, they'll. Be evaluated. On, and. Against. The. Topic, description, so if the topic description, says we're, looking for this and they. Don't have that then we're saying okay you've, not provided, information on, this correct, so I think the. Important. Point, of that is if. We, say we, want this and they, don't address this.
That's. A, point. Of weakness yes, very much so okay so, then. We. Will, begin we'll be evaluating, these and and be. Assessing. Strengths, and weaknesses of the proposals, yes okay. And. The. Award. So let's, say I'm, a small, company and I have, been notified, within. The. 90-day time frame you're. Planning. To pursue a phase one with, me what. What, is what should be my expectation. In terms of when, because. As a small business I need to make, sure I can line up my resources, when. Would I expect to be to begin that she, will receive notification, within the 90 days once. You you will receive the notification and very, shortly after that either myself or a member of my team will contact you to prevent to begin the negotiation, process okay, the negotiation, process can. Be quick it can be slow it depends on on, where we are each for each individual, company's individual, there's. No particular, timeline, on the process but, for, planning purposes the companies can anticipate that, they, will have, Awards. Firm fixed price awards in place commit, in the beginning of May okay, the. Beginning of May, yes. That. Sounds like a a good time. Frame all, right so. We've. Covered a lot of information but. I want to make sure we have an opportunity to ask. Address, some of the questions that are coming in from. The viewers so. The first one we have is what. Is I, believe that they're asking what the Naik's code, is for. Small, business and, I'm for, SBIR, purposes. So. That. Would be the determination, of whether you're able to to, participate. Whether, you're a small business and that's actually determined. By the 13, CFR, 121. 702, for. SBIR. Which. Is it says you have to be 500, people or less. So. That. How. Is how is that determination. Done. Well. The companies are asked to give sent to us to SBA registration. Shows, that there are small businesses and. That their small business and therefore we take it from there okay so. It's it's, essentially. A self, certification, process. Okay, yes, -, yeah with penalty. For. So. And the, 500. Person, are less is that on. That day is, it an average over, 500. Person are less threshold. Is an average. So. That's our, rage over the year I believe okay, so.
If I'm at, 501. The. Day you happen to come to. Give me the award but. I've been at 490. For, the, past year. Then it is fine okay so it's not a specific, classical, fluctuation, right okay. Another. Question and another question so, the question is X where, is the pre-solicitation. The. Presa so the pre-solicitation, is, located. On FedBizOpps. FBO. Gov. And. So. If, there's. That's you can get there that way but there's also the. Link, at the bottom of the screen here if. You go to that. Page, on the right hand side you'll. See a, couple things one there'll be a, picture. On the right-hand side of the page with. It's got a finger, pointing that some gears and it says how to apply. That. Gives, some additional, guidance on on how to apply to the, DHS SBIR. Program. Under. That under. News and events the, on November 22nd. We PO did pre-solicitation. Is, out there and so if you go into that news an event item there is a link that'll take you to the, FBO page and then when you go there there's, the pre-solicitation. Instruction. But, then there's, another document. That gives the topic, its description, Iseman so we have eight. SMT. SBIR. Topics, and four, D, NGO topics, that are that are in that so, make sure you you see that document, and see what the the topics are and can respond to that. Are. There any lessons learned for businesses based on what you've seen from past years. I, think, that's why we said read the solicitation. Please read so I mean and I don't think it's just the businesses, I think we've. Learned. Some. Lessons over, the years I mean every time I've, I've been I've been working, SBIR. And I did at the Navy for ten years and now here at DHS. For just, over a year now and. The. Solicitation. Of verbage, is something. That is reviewed. Every time, that we look at it so, lesson. Learned if. You. Think you know what's, in there. Don't. Make an assumption that you know what's in there. We. Try to we. Update, it if we've learned lessons, in terms, of. That. Our requirements, so again. We're, there's. Some potential changes, for dollar. Amounts. And. You. Know other clarifying, instructions. So. Yes. Read, the, solicitation, so, we're, getting another question, in now. Okay. So what is the difference between SBIR. And the broad agency announcement. Portals. So. The. Broad agency announcement, portals. If you go, out there are, basically. More. General, topics, so broad agency announcement, will. Ask for. It. Will have a general, subject, and it'll say we would like to hear things that you'd like to do under, this area the. SBIR, topics. Are going. To. Be worded. Described. As here, is our gap, here's, the technology, or, here's the. The. The thing that we're not able to do right, now will. Give you the parameters, of what that has to satisfy such, as size weight. And. Say. How, would you solve this. Problem what, would you do so we expect, innovative, approaches, to that, but. We are saying what. We are trying to solve. With. With with, this effort so. How, does DHS. The NGO choose. Solicitations. Is. It. All internal, problem-solving or their external. Influencers. I'm. Assuming they need choose topics. So. When. We are we. Do a call. For. Topics, and that, goes out to our, technical community, the, technical community works, with the. Components. And end-users, to determine, what our needs are. They, submit, the. Topics, to us during the call we collect, them, and.
We. Make determinations one. If it's appropriate for the SBIR program so. While, something, may need an innovative, approach it. May not necessarily be, appropriate, for SBIR it, may it may be something. That, falls, outside the. Thresholds. That in. Terms of time and dollars that, would be feasible to, do under SBIR. We vet. Those down. To. What is actually, a good, SBIR. Candidate, and then they are chosen by a board. That. Board, and then we take the ones that were able to do based on what what. Our predicted. Budget is and we, put them out into the solicitation. So. I. Proposed. To a DoD topic does that prevent me from proposing, to DHS, as well. No. No it does not it it. Doesn't even. Preclude. You from proposing. The, same effort, to. DHS. As another agency, what, you will have to do is there's a question, when. You're submitting. Your proposal on, what we are calling the cover sheet that says, are you. Proposing. This. And, or similar, effort, to, another agency, you have to check yes. And then. When Tanisha or her team contacts. You and is. Preparing. For the award. You would have to disclose. That. You either have received, the. Award, from another agency or did that you've received notification. That you're considered, for, an award or an award another agency, so. You cannot. Accept. An. Award, for. The, same work or or for, two, awards that have overlapping same, work. There. Are a, couple. Of questions about. Specific. Topics. That, have come in. And. We. Are not answering, those here. Because. They are the ones again, because of during the pre solicitation, you're supposed to be asking directly, to the topic managers, so. We don't want to do that but also because we don't know we're. Not the technical experts, but we, are the experts, on the contracting. And the SPR process. So, if you've put, in a question and we, haven't had a chance to answer it we will be answering, it offline. If, you, come, up with a question, right. After we go off the air then. We will address it after. We go off the air before. We go off the air though I do want, to. Promote. That. As. Part, of the new. Innovate. S&T, series, the, office, of public-private partnerships, under which SBIR. Falls will, be hosting a livestream, conversation. On December, 12th. They. Will be talking about the newly, released industry. Guide which. Is a resource for you to found out more about SM T's needs and how to work with DHS. And I'm really excited that this is happening because this is like the number, one question, I get from small businesses, when we go out and do one-on-ones. In the road tours at our other events how, do I work with with DHS, S&T. So. Please. Make sure you turn into that on the 12th at one o'clock and, I. Also.
Want, To we're. Going to be posting the. Timeline. For key events for the 18.1. SBIR. Solicitation. Yes there it's general, timer timeframes, but we want to just give folks an idea of what, to expect in, the very near, upcoming. Future. And then some some, further out dates. There. Anything else that, you. Wanted to make, sure we address before, we're, no. Just want to tell everyone to pay attention to the timelines and the time frames please make sure that you read the pre-solicitation wasa so stations posted, please make sure you read it very carefully go through it with a fine-tooth comb and we. Are looking forward to seeing your proposals, we're looking forward to working with you you, confused, by anything make sure you ask we are hiring my question xxx, we're here and we're happy to answer any your questions and we very much look forward to working with you thank, you very much, thanks for joining us.